Introduction

Every financial year each Foundation Trust (FT) must present to Parliament a copy of its Annual Report and Accounts for the financial year and its Forward Plan for the subsequent three years (NHS 2006 Act, Section 39 [1]), these reports are deposited with Monitor, the FT regulator. The Annual Report contains clinical, financial and governance reviews of the year and it also contains the Annual Accounts which has information like the turnover, the surplus (or deficit) and income from private patients. The Annual Report also gives details of the trust’s Cost Improvement Plan (CIP) to achieve the QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) savings demanded by Monitor.

When a Foundation Trust is authorised Monitor specifies the Private Patient Income (PPI) cap which is the private patient income the trust generated in 2003 (NHS Act 2006, section 44 [2]) as a percentage of the total patient income in that year. (If the trust is a mental health provider then the minimum PPI cap is 1.5% – Health Act 2009 [3].) The cap was abolished in October 2012, but prior to this date a trust must ensure that the proportion of PPI to the total patient income was below this figure and a trust had to make a section 44 declaration to this effect in its Annual Accounts. The Annual Accounts also have to list the income from joint ventures and subsidiary companies.

The Forward Plan includes sections for the strategy of the trust for the coming year, and includes details about the trust’s vision, strategic position, and its clinical, quality and financial strategy for the future. The plan also has sections to describe how the management will be developed and how governors were involved in producing the strategy document. This document often contains interesting information about the trust’s current financial situation and plans for partnerships with private companies.

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[1] www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/41/section/39
[2] www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/41/section/44
[3] www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/21/section/33